What can I give them today, what would they like? . . . the voice in my head is asking.  And I think Garden! So come with me, let’s go back to England!  And there’s other stuff!

Some of you will remember that rainy day when we visited Rosemary Verey’s garden?  We were only there for a moment, but you might recognize this video I squeezed into another post at the time (couldn’t wait to show you!); I promised we’d go back one day and show you the rest!  And today’s the day!


It’s wonderful to hear those birds again!  In case you haven’t heard of Rosemary Verey, she was an English gardener (1918-2001) who designed gardens for royalty (Prince Charles) and rock stars (Elton John), and others, not quite so well-known, but her most famous garden was the “little one” she did at her own home called Barnsley House near Bibury in the Cotswolds.  She opened the garden to the public “just for one day” and ended up with 30,000 visitors a year!  She’s inspired every gardener I know in big and little ways. So off we go; let’s start with some wonderful old Musica?  Oui!

I always knew I wanted to see this garden but when we got there we were met by a sign  at the garden gate that said: “No Entry  GARDEN CLOSED  Open to Hotel Patrons Only!”

Whaaat??  No!!  So I ran inside, up to the reservation desk, and asked (trying to look calm and normal), “Do you serve lunch to people who aren’t staying here?”  “Oh yes we do,” she said, and I (getting happy again) said,  “May we walk in the garden if we have lunch?”  And she said, “Oh yes, you may!”  “Oh Boy,” I said, “Table for Two at 2 pm please?”  And out we went, into Rosemary Verey’s Garden!

(hahaha just now Jack came up under my desk with his furry little head and put his ball with the bell on my chair between my legs! So it’s a time out….  XOXO  

OK, back . . . Look at that sky! You can see what a dark day it was, we kept ducking in and out of the rain.  On sunny days (and they do have them), those white umbrellas near the house are open and meals are served there.

But not today . . . Here’s what the garden looks like from the porch; we wander out that path to so much beauty . . .

  This is Rosemary Verey (a link to a precious video of her speaking about the “Winter Garden” from Barnsley house), and here, on the cover of one of her many books, in probably her most-copied “garden room,” the Laburnum Walk.

This is The Laburnum Walk.  Is it not to die for???  So simply designed, a straight path lined with Laburnum (golden chain) trees, underplanted with Alliums — my favorite mix of garden colors.

There’s a “Secret Garden” around every corner here; behind every hedge you find brick paths or flagstone paths leading you along; a mix of everything natural and beautiful; it’s a garden filled with surprises.

Garden gates add mystery, we have to follow!  But, before we go further, shall we stop and make tea?  Yes, let’s do.  Let’s take Jack!

He is always so helpful!  Cream?  Sugar?  Honey?  Kitty treat? . . . OK, back to the computer we go . . . all settled in?  Here we go again!

Through that first iron gate we went before we needed to make tea . . . and now through that gate in the rock wall . . . and down that path . . .

To this wooden gate of what they call the “Potager Garden” (the French name for Kitchen Garden).  Want to go through the gate?  Of course!  We’re having lunch here!  We are patrons of the hotel!   We can go anywhere!  So lucky!

Looking back toward the house, again, there are my favorite colors … that limey yellow and that purply violet next to the wall — I saw this color combination in one of her books, I put it in my garden too . . . I love the bright spot of color.

This is a photo of my garden, which is a fraction, a mini-minus-fraction of Rosemary Verey’s, but that’s OK, we can all adapt for our own world with pieces of ideas.  That’s what inspiration is all about!  Learning; seeing something you love, and then doing it your own inimitable way.  Anyone can buy a bush, I found out, back in the days that I was still thinking “Oh I could never do that!”  Anyone can buy a bush!

When we were here, I wrote in my diary, “it smelled like rain, rosemary, and thyme . . .” and it did!

It’s about as full of texture as a garden can get, tall things, short things, hedges, paths in all directions, herbs, flowers, vegetables, formal, and informal . . .

Do I see lunch here?  Oh I hope so!

Designs from Rosemary Verey’s Good Planting Plans …. she does this . . .

And then I, thinking a lot smaller, do this. Maybe we can’t do what she did, but we can do something!  Even a little dooryard is enough to bring lots of joy!

We are so lucky that the English people take such good care of their beautiful handmade countryside and we get to go there and be inspired!


Two pm, time to go!  Back to the house through the bottle garden we went . . .

 Oh look, veggies from the garden!  I know what I’m having!

Beautiful, did I tell you how good the food was on our trip?  So good!  Here’s Joe’s . . .

Don’t worry, that was just his starter!  OK, before we go … I want to give you one more video . . . one last look at the kitchen garden, one last sound of the birds…


 . . . and, here’s where we make an abrupt turn back to reality — we are home again!  Breathe . . . OK, it does make a little sense, since we are talking about gardens and healthy food, that I should add . . .

If you have a garden, and you planted zucchini, I’m pretty sure you could be in trouble — possibly you are inundated by zucchini that grow four inches a day, and maybe even looking for victims to foist it off on, sneaking up to friend’s porches, ringing the bell and running.   Is this you?  We know who you are.

So here’s your answer, one of my favorite summer salads . . . a fresh, easy-to-make salad, that makes zucchini as crisp as pickles.

So pretty and summery with the flowers, and good for you too.  Perfect for a summer potluck. If you give away your zucchini with this recipe, no one will complain!

Isn’t it pretty?  We love to use the herb lovage on this one . . . if you’ve never had it, it tastes kind of like celery; delicious in soups and salads; sprinkle it over cottage cheese, with black pepper, yum!  But any fresh salad herb is good with this; try chopped arugula, lemon thyme (with flowers), basil, or watercress.  Here’s the recipe!

One last thing, speaking of Inspiration, Wednesday the 15th is Julia Child’s 100th Birthday!   Happy Birthday Dear Julia ♥  ♥  ♥

If you don’t know enough about her, or even if you do, one of my favorite movies, and I think probably yours too, is Julie Julia, so fun!

And now I must go, because you know who’s birthday it is today? It’s Joe’s!  I’m going to bake a cake, we are having a big party this weekend!

Come back in a couple of days, I have a new giveaway in the works, something I think you will like!  I meant to do it today, but I just ran out of time.  XOXO Have a wonderful day, everyone!!

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  1. Silvia Niomi says:

    Hi dearest Susan,

    Three little words…. Amo i giardini, three more little words; oui, oui, oui and three more….. buon compleanno Joe!!!!! (this is kind of fun… I did this while the musica was playing; three word phrases just flowed) oh three more; Julia, Joe, Leos. Yeahhhhh!!!!! (Leos are near and dear to my heart, since my hubby and I are Leos too – we do tend to roar sometimes).

    Hmmmmm what other three words are there, oh yeah……

    xox or oxo

    (I’m writing this while listening to “Three Little Words”)
    This was such a nice post. I love English gardens. I never knew about Rosemary Verey. Now, I’ll have to look up some of her books for inspirations on how to put together my garden. Course your gardens have inspired me as well. Your gardens are almost exactly what I envisioned my garden to look like someday. I definitely will have to go with splashes of colors like the lime and purple colors and also spice up the garden with spices such as lovage (never heard of that), arugula, thyme, oregano and basil (what’s an Italian garden without those spices) and then add nasturtium and maybe some other edible flowers. We’ll be ready for a feast, Delectable!!!!

  2. Sandy Richmond says:

    Autumn is in the air this morning in Massachusetts!

  3. Christie Ray says:

    dear Sue,
    Last night, you appeared in my dream! It was so vivid, as if you really came by for a visit…and we had SUCH a nice chat:) I told you of my neighbor that came by yesterday with a bouquet of roses she had just clipped … and you said, “now you have a Lowley, too!” I said, “Yes! I’ve never had a neighbor that was so sweet, and I’ve envied the girlfriends you have close by. Now I have a Lowley friend!”
    Sue, I’d say you are having more of an influence on us girls than you can even comprehend:)) and, btw, you looked great…smiling…talking…laughing…I enjoyed our “visit”:)) Have a wonderful day my friend, and give dear Lowley an extra hug!

  4. This whole post has been a balm and an island of garden inspiration.
    I’ve been hoeing and sprinkling myself and sure like these wafts of acidy green that make it look like the sun is always shining.

  5. Elaine says:

    Dearest Susan,
    What a wonderful tour of the garden! Green is my FAVORITE color. Living in the dry climate of Arizona for 53 years left me longing for the green plantings of my native Ohio. Imagine my elation on finding that our new Oregon home sported our “very OWN English garden!” It will never be as organized as Ms Verey’s or yours (despite my husband’s best efforts each fall, by this time of year it’s more like and English jungle!); but I love each and every tall, short, creeping, scented, colorful rioting plant.

  6. Shirley Woodson says:

    How inspired I am by your blog today. I want to use my herbs to make a delicious salad, get out my springform pan and bake a cheesecake, dig out the flagstone pavers I bought last summer from under my husbands old trailer and lay a path in my yard, plant something very English in my garden, and pull out my Julie Julia DVD and watch it tonight. Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!

  7. Raenell Cannady says:

    Hey Susan…
    Good luck with the makeover…will feel so good. I think a nice neutral creamy beige will be beautiful, but I love the color you have now too! I have Beaker Beige by Benjamin Moore in my kitchen and several other rooms and love it! It too goes with everything. I wish you luck and happiness in your decisions and with you and your lovely taste you can only have a beautiful place to land. Can’t wait to see it.
    xo Love, Raenell

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